A High Holiday Prayerbook Dedicated to an American Jewish Soldier in Dutch

In the course of his work at the National Library of Israel, Daniel Lipson came across a set of maḥzorim (special prayerbooks for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) published in New York in 1942 that had somehow been placed in the wrong collection. Both bore a label in Dutch and Hebrew dedicating the volumes to the memory of a U.S. soldier named David Meyer Wald, who fell in battle on Yom Kippur 1944 and was buried in the Margraten cemetery in the Netherlands. While Lipson found someone who fits this description, he his buried in Montreal. He recounts his further investigation:

Wald . . . was born in Timkovichi, in what is now Belarus, in 1921. His family immigrated to the United States in 1938 and settled in Pittsburgh, where David worked for a time as a wholesale clerk until he was drafted. . . . [He] served in the 325th Infantry Regiment, a unit belonging to the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Most regiments in this division were paratroop units, but the 325th was a unit of gliders attached to cargo planes which flew them to the battlefield.

Wald’s glider unit was sent into action on September 23, 1944, in the final days of Operation Market Garden. This was the first combined operation initiated by the Allies on European soil with the aim of penetrating into northern Germany. But the operation failed, and among the thousands of dead was one David Meyer Wald.

[T]he soldiers who fell were buried in temporary graves and only transferred to Margraten after the war. It turns out that five years after he was buried in Holland, Wald’s family asked that his body be reinterred in Canada, where they immigrated from the United States.

In 2007, Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, rabbi of the synagogue in the Dutch city of Maastricht, found an unfamiliar Torah scroll in his synagogue. He didn’t know where the scroll came from, only that it had been kept in a safe for many years. The Torah scroll was dedicated in the memory of David Meyer Wald by his parents and donated to the synagogue closest to his burial place in Margraten. It would appear that the Walds also donated the two maḥzorim and perhaps other books, as well, at the same opportunity.

Read more at The Librarians

More about: American Jewish History, Jews in the military, Prayer books, World War II

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy